In order to understand the tradition of Muay Thai, it is important to look at some of the legends who have come before. While most people know the living legends like Saenchai, there are a number of fighters who have paved the way for the new generation of fighters today.

If you guys don’t have time to look up the history of Muay Thai and some of the legends of the sport, no worries, I’ll give you your cheat sheet. The next time a hardcore Muay Thai fan asks you to name your favorite fighter, you’ll be prepared to give him an educated answer.

Here is a list of the Top 10 Muay Thai fighters of all time from the past to present. These are fighters that everyone who loves the sport of Muay Thai should know.

***Updated August 24, 2014*** (Added Coban Lookchaomaesaithong to Honorable mention)

***Updated May 6, 2014*** (Added Pud Pad Noy, Namkabuan, Dieselnoi, Tongchai and Kaensak to top 10  and 9 fighters to Honorable Mention)

#10: Namsaknoi Yudthagarngamtorn

namsaknoi

Before Buakaw made Por Pramuk gym famous internationally, Namsaknoi was the original star of the gym. He has one multiple titles throughout his fighting career including fighter of the year awar from sports writers association and sports authority of Thailand. He had an undefeated run in Lumpinee where he could not be beat.

Namsaknoi has one of the best muay thai records ever. His professional record consists of 285 wins and only 15 losses. This is a feat that is extremely impressive because of the level of competition the fighters faced.

He was voted one of the greatest fighters of all time by the Thai media and his nickname is “The Emperor.” Many consider him to be one of the most well rounded fighters in the sport, being good at all the different weapons of Muay Thai. He was known to have the best Wai Kru/Ram Muay of the year, winning awards in both 2001 and 2006.

Here is a video of Namsaknoi beating Saenchai

Check out his highlight video here

#9: Pud Pad Noy Worawoot

PUd Pad NoyPud Pad Noy started fighting at the age of 14 where he fought for a purse of 15 baht (50 cents) back in 1965. He tallied over 60 fights in Issan before he moved to Bangkok at the age of 18 where he would win numerous Lumpinee titles and win a 16 man tournament in Ratchadamnern, beating all of the best fighters in Thailand at the time.

Pud had 150 fights where he had 135 wins and only 15 losses. He was a fighter that liked to move forward in his fights and also used technique to beat his opponents. He was known for his devastating left kicks,  which is why he was given the nickname “Golden Leg’ by fans of the sport. When he retired from Muay Thai he eventually became a trainer in Paris where he stayed for 23 years from 1980 to 2003.

Pu Pad Noy Warawoot is a legendary Thai boxer that has made a name for himself as one of the all time greats of the sport. He was given the award for “best fighter’ from the King of Thailand himself and also received a special trophy called “the Golden Leg.”

Check out a highlight of Pud Pad Noy here

#8: Namkabuan Nongkee Pahuyuth

Namkabuan fought Ramon Dekkers. He said he was a very tough fight because he was sick leading up to it, but he still won.

Namkabuan fought Ramon Dekkers. He said he was a very tough fight because he was sick leading up to it, but he still won.

Anytime you have a fighter who’s nickname is “The Ring Genius” you know he’s got to be something special. Namkabuan is a fighter who has the power and technique to make him one of the greatest Muay Thai champions. He is a thinking fighter that used his ring tactics to win his fights. In all of his fights he only KO’ed 2 of his opponents. His favorite technique was to grab the leg of an opponent and put them off balance.

Namkabuan fought in the golden era of Thai boxing against some of the other greats in the sport. He held his Lumpinee title belt for 6 years which until he never had any challengers for the belt. He ended up vacating the belt and going on to win a world Champion belt that he kept for several years. His record in the ring was 283 fights and only 15 losses and 2 draws. He beat all the best champions of his generation and is someone that stands out as one of the best ever.

Namkabuan’s brother Namphon is another Lumpinee champion that was one of the legends during the golden era of Muay Thai.

Check out this highlight video of “The Ring Genius” in action Here

#7: Kaensak Sor Ploenchit

Kaensak Sor PloenchitKaensak was a technician in the ring that fought the late 80s and 90s, also known as the golden era of Muay Thai. He was a fighter that preferred to use his intelligence and technique in his fight to overcome opponents in the ring. Like most fighters in Thailand, Kaensak started boxing at the age of 9 and had his first fight at 10. He moved to Bangkok at the age of 15 where he started fighting in Lumpinee stadium.

He wan numerous titles in Thailand including the prestigious Lumpinee and Ratchadamnern titles. He fought approximately 250 times and had over 200 wins in his career. Given the fact that Kaensak was fighting in the golden era of Muay Thai, he is definitely someone that belongs on this list of top fighters.

Kaensak stated in a recent interview that he believed Ramon Dekkers was the best foreigner to ever fight in Thailand.

Check out Kaensak’s highlight video here

#6: Tongchai Tor Silachai

Tongchai Tor SilachaiIf you have never heard of Tongchai before you should definitely watch his highlight video. He is the only man to ever KO Saenchai in the ring – a feat that will probably never be repeated until Saenchai gets to the end of his career.

Tongchai’s career has been extremely impressive to say the least. He has captured a number of different titles including 2 WMC titles, Mitsubishi Tournment Champ, 5 Lumpinee Titles, Ratchadamnern title, Sportswriters boxer of the year and a two time Sports Authority boxer of the year.

In 2008 Tongchai was busted for selling drugs by the Thai police. He is a great example of fighters who have had successful careers in Muay Thai, but never learn how to properly handle their finances and are always fighting to keep earning money. Tongchai stated that the decline in prize money caused him to look for other ways to make money. A sad example of Thai fighters who are never taught financial skills and how to save money for a rainy day.

SEE ALSO:  5 Things to Expect When You Watch THAI FIGHT

Check out his video of Tongchai KO’ing Saenchai here

#5: Saenchai

Muay thai cover photo

Saenchai is a real living legend of the sport – one of the best technical fighters ever. He has fought all over the world and been at the top of the sport for over a decade. He is known to give up 5-10 kilos when he fights foreigners and has only lost once. If you ever want to see a Thai fighter who is agile, incredibly fast, and good with all aspects of muay thai, Saenchai is your man.

Even though he is 33 years of age, Saenchai doesn’t show any signs of slowing down anytime soon. He is almost like a magician when he fights – the only way you can stop him from disappearing in front of you is to lock him up in the clinch.

Saenchai is a once in a generation fighter who truly possess the most talent and skill of any fighter in the sport. His weakness is in the clinch because of his short stature and height, but he makes up for that in his absolute brilliance.

Check out his highlight video here

#4: Somrak Khamsing

SomrakSomrak Khamsing is the pride of Thailand – He won the Olympic gold in boxing, becoming the first Thai to ever win a gold medal at the olympics. He is extremely fluid and entertaining to watch. He bobs and weaves like a boxing/muay thai hybrid fighter.

Although Somrak would be ranked #1 at both Lumpinee and Ratchadamnoern stadiums, he would never fight for the title. Promoters at both stadiums refused him the championship fights because they knew he was too good. After this he would retire from Muay Thai and switch to amateur boxing. He would come out of retirement in 2012 fighting fellow legend Jomhod for a record purse of 6 million baht.

Check out his highlight video here

#3: Apidej Sit Hirun

Apidej Sit HirunAny fighter who is awarded the fighter of the century by the King of Thailand should be recognized on this list. He is considered one of the hardest hitting Thai’s to ever fight the sport – yes, harder than Buakaw. He recently passed away in 2013 at the age of 72. He is famous for a single kick that broke his opponents arm and caused the opponent to retire after the fight. Nobody will argue about Apidej’s place in the history of Muay Thai.

Since Apidej retired, the sport of Muay Thai has gone through rapid growth and development. I believe that the best fighters in the sport came from the Golden age of Muay Thai in the late 80s and 90s. That being said Apidej helped paved the way for next generation of fighters in the sport.

Check out his highlight video here

#2: Dieselnoi Chor Thanasukarn

DieselnoiDieselnoi is considered by many to be one of the greatest Muay Thai fighters ever. He was an undefeated Lumpinee Stadium Champion who was very tall for a Thai fighter. Using his height to full advantage, Dieselnoi was known to be an extremely effective knee striker. He defeated Samart Payakaroon in a fight that showcased how effective he was at scoring knee strikes and outpointing his opponents.

At the height of his career, Dieselnoi was too good that many of his opponents did not want to challenge him. His exceptional use of knee strikes in his fights is something that as cemented his legacy as one of the greatest fighters ever.

Check out this video of Dieselnoi demonstrating his knees HERE

#1: Samart Payakaroon (The Muhammed Ali of Muay Thai)

DieselnoiWhat can I say, this guy is a legend in the sport. Ask most people who know anything about Muay Thai and they will say Samart is the best ever. You want to see a muay thai fighter with good hands? This is your man, he was a WBC junior featherweight title holder with a surprise KO over his favored opponent.

Most people consider Samart to be the greatest fighter of all time. Samart has a boxing record of 21-2, and was WBC super-bantam weight champ and has 4 Lumpinee belts.

Check out his highlight video here

Honorable Mention

(These guys are all top 10 material)

Buakaw Banchamek (Por Pramuk)

Buakaw kick

Although Buakaw Banchamek isn’t the best Muay Thai fighter to come from Thailand (he never won a Lumpinee title), he has done the most for the sport in terms of international exposure. Everybody knows Buakaw. He is the fighter that put Muay thai on the map for most people. Buakaw is the most famous fighter to ever come out of Thailand, with his star power growing day by day. Ask a Thai living in Thailand who is the biggest star of the sport, they will respond with “Buakaw Super Star.”

Because Bauakaw fought in K1, he exposed himself to a much wider audience than most Thai fighters. It’s no secret that Buakaw is exciting to watch, he is aggressive and fights to please the crowds. When Buakaw retires from the sport he will deserve to be on the list of all time greats because of the impact he’s had for the sport of Muay Thai as a whole.

Check out his highlight video here

Ramon Dekkers

Ramon DekkersRamon “The Diamond” Dekkers is considered by many (Thai’s included) to be the best foreigner to ever fight in Thailand. He recently passed away in 2013 at the age of 43. He paved the way for a younger generation of foreigners fighting in Thailand. Dekkers had a reputation to go toe to toe with his opponents, making him an extremely entertaining fighter to watch in the ring. He fought some of the best fighters in Thailand and was a crowd favorite because of his entertaining fights.

Dekkers once stated in an interview that, “In Thailand it is very difficult to win other than by knocking your opponent out. It has happened to me in many of my fights that I have lost on “points” while fighting in Thailand. It’s normal over there losing on points but it can be very frustrating.”

Some of the other living legends including greats like Namkabuan and Kaensak all stated that Ramon Dekkers is the best foreigner to every fight in Thailand. High praise coming form the best in the sport.

Check out his highlight video here

Coban Lookchaomaesaithong

CobanCoban is one of the most famous Muay Thai coaches who current teaches outside of Thailand. When Coban was in his prime he fought some of the top guys in the sport and was a walking highlight real. He was a world champion and is famous for fighting the legendary Ramon Dekkers 4 times, splitting the fights with 2 wins and 2 losses. When he retired from the sport he went on to teach Muay Thai in New York at Coban’s Muay Thai camp.

SEE ALSO:  10 Muay Thai Fighters that Everyone Should Know

Although Coban does not make the list of top 10 Muay Thai fighters of all time, he definitely has his place on the honorable mention as he was a talented star who fought some of the best guys in the sport. Coban has an assume highlight video that you should definitely watch.

Check out his highlight video here

Put Lorlek

Vicharnoi Porntawee vs. Poot Lorlek - Fight of the year in 1975

Vicharnoi Porntawee vs. Poot Lorlek – Fight of the year in 1975

Put Lorlek was a Muay Thai fighter that was a legend in the 70s. He was considered by many sports writers at the time to be the best fighter in Thailand between 75-77. Put was a fighter that used his movement extremely well in his fights. He is was one of the fighters who was known for his Femur (skill) style of fighting. Utilizing effective techniques to off balance opponents who were coming forward with aggression.

Even after Put Lorlek retired from fighting he continued to coach and raise a new generation of fighters under his wing. This video showcases him demonstrating the importance of footwork in countering an opponents attacks. Even though he is old and out of shape you can tell in the video that he still has it.

He is a legendary icon in the sport of Muay Thai and is definitely someone who deserves to be recognized for his accomplishments.

Make sure you check out Put Lorlek’s highlight video here

Jomhod Kiatadisak

JomhodYou can’t say anything bad about Jomhod, besides the fact that he has a serious gambling problem. He once lost everything he had including his muay thai gym after betting his entire fortune (including his home and gym) on himself to win a fight, which he lost. Fortunately the gamblers were kind enough to let him keep his gym.

Jomhod is a fighter with a lot of heart. He won his first Lumpinee title at the age of 18, where he would go on to win more than 18 major titles throughout the course of his career. He has lived in Finland for 11 years and move back to Thailand in 2006. He is an extremely entertaining fighter to watch and always gives it his all in the fights.

Check out his highlight video here

Singdam Kiatmoo9

Singdam KiatmooSingdam has a huge range of accomplishments. He was voted Thailand fighter of the year and Lumpinee stadium fighter of the year. He has fought many of the greats including Saenchai, Orono, Yodsanklai, and Anuwat Kaewsamrit. He is currently a very active fighter fighting 10 times in 2013. He once again won a Lumpinee title belt against Nong-O last year in a rematch.

Check out his highlight video here

Orono Por Muang Ubon

OronoOrono is a three time Lumpinee champion, Kings Cup champion and former fighter of the year winner. He has beaten some of the best in the sport including the legendary John Wayne Parr and Ramon Dekkers. He is considered by many to be one of the top 10 fighters of all time.

Check out his highlight video here

Khaosai Galaxy

Khaosai galaxyKhaosai is better known as a boxer than a Muay Thai fighter, but that doesn’t take away what he had accomplish in the sport. Listed as on the greatest boxing Champions of all time, the reason Khaosai never accomplished more in the sport of Muay Thai was because there was a lot more money to make in Boxing.

Khaosai got his name from his manger at the time who owned a nightclub named Khaosai. He was an extremely heavy handed boxer who was known for his extremely good left hand. It was unfortunate that we didn’t get to see Khaosai’s full potential in Muay Thai, but he was gifted with his hands, so he probably chose the right sport.

Check out Khaosai’s highlight video here

Karuhat Sor Supawan

Karuhat supawanEven though Karuhat was an short Thai boxer for his weight category, he was known to use his technique and skill to win his fights. Karuhat was known to usually smaller than his opponents so he had to rely on his skill to win fights. He was known for a very tricky and relaxed style that allowed him to land shots at will against his opponents. He was good at body kicks and elbows that he used with devastating affect.

He fought in the golden age of Muay Thai and was known as one of the best fighters in the late 90s. Karuhat had a record of 190 fights with 163 wins and 23 losses. 20 of those wins came by way of KO.

Towards the end of his career he fought abroad in places like Japan, France, New Zealand and Russia. At the time he did not train as much and was past the peak of his career. He would go on to lose some of his fights abroad and have his career slowly end when he was past his prime.

Check out a highlight of Karuhat here

Dany Bill

Dany billDany is considered by many to be the greatest foreign fighter to ever fight in Thailand. He is a French-Cameroonian fighter who become a seven time world Muay Thai champion. Danny fought some of the best guys in the sport, including legends Ramon Dekkers and Sakmongkol.

In 97 fights he had 87 wins, a feat which is extremely impressive considering his competition in the sport. Dany is definitely a fighter who deserves to be recognized as one of the best in the sport.

Check out Dany Bill’s highlight here

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Note, if you don’t see your favorite fighter on this list make sure you check out our other lists:

  1. Top 10 Muay Thai Fighters in Thailand Today
  2. Top 10 Muay Thai Fighters that Everyone Should Know
  3. Top 10 Pound-for-Pound International Fighters 

Educate your Friends!

The next time someone talks to you about how amazing Buakaw is, you should ask them if they have heard of Samart or Jomhod. Not only will you be spreading the Muay Thai gospel, you will also look like you know your stuff.  Make sure you spread this list around so people can learn about some of the old legends.

Do you Agree or Disagree? Comment Below! *There are a lot of legendary Muay Thai fighters that have been around over the years. It is impossible to include all of the greats on this list, otherwise I would be writing 50 names down here. However, there are definitely some fighters that deserve to be on this list. If you feel someone needs to be here, leave a comment with their name and reason why below.